In discussing the Italian tailoring houses of old—the Isaias, Kitons, and Brionis, to name a few—there is an inherent disconnect (unlike on the seasonal ready-to-wear runways) between the product and the men who make it. There is an inclination to assume that a few octogenarians labor away in a nondescript workshop in some forgotten village, producing some of the finest suits in the world. Customers, in general, tend to disregard the creative faces of these companies, more concerned with the product than some designer whose name they can’t be bothered to remember.

In the early aughts, however, a renewed interest in suiting and a radical shift in men’s fashion pushed these companies—somewhat uncomfortably—into the fashion limelight. Men suddenly looked forward to putting on their finest double-breasted peak lapels, and for the first time in their history, these houses found themselves with an abundance of young adult clients. Tastes have since changed, wardrobes grown more casual and the suit waned in interest. In the last few years, these vaunted houses have found themselves struggling to keep clients both new and old. Their strategy? Hire big-name creative directors, hold runway shows and attempt to curry the favor of suddenly fashion-savvy clientele. The results have had mixed effects, from total failure—think Justin O’Shea’s six-month tenure at Brioni—to relative success. Few designers, though, have managed to invigorate heritage suiting brands to the extent of Alessandro Sartori.